significant support for such scientists during the hardest years of restructuring the Russian economy.
In the last 10 years, ISTC funded about $500 million in research involving over 51,000 scientists from 700 research institutes in Russia, Byelorussia, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Several Russian participants attributed ISTC’s success in part to the fact that the following key issues were agreed at the preliminary stage and formalized as an international agreement:
Requirements for project proposals and format of their presentation
Mechanism of coordination with Russian governmental bodies
Project review procedure: project proposals receive expert appraisals by a Scientific Advisory Board, then decisions are made by the funding parties at the ISTC Board of Governors meetings
Issues of audit and access to Russian institutions for evaluation
Reimbursement of (exemption from) taxes and customs duties
Payment of project grants for their participants
Operational support of ISTC projects by its Executive Directorate
In addition to ISTC, it is important to note two other programs that work to reduce the likelihood that Russian weapons expertise will leave Russia. The Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention and the Nuclear Cities Initiative are run by the U.S. Department of Energy and have different approaches than ISTC. Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention focuses on the involvement and investment of private industry in the weapons complex of the former Soviet Union. The Nuclear Cities Initiative, which operates within the previously secret “nuclear cities,” emphasizes the transformation of the Soviet weapons complex infrastructure to commercial use.
The International Nuclear Safety Program (INSP), though not focused directly on nuclear nonproliferation, is related to this subject. Some Russian workshop participants held up the program as a good example of U.S.-Russian cooperation, saying that the experience gained applies to other areas of cooperation, and that the program was remarkable for its transparency and free access to financial and project information. The INSP program was initiated shortly after the Chernobyl accident and was directed to assist Russia and other countries with Soviet-built nuclear power reactors to improve the safety of their operating plants. The work of the program has now largely been completed.
Information on the progress of program implementation within specific areas of safety improvement initially could be obtained from quarterly and annual reports compiled by DOE. Later, as the number of joint projects increased, the reports were organized by subject and made available on the world wide web, along with detailed project descriptions, staff contact information, and financial data. Regular progress reports were also posted on the Internet and distributed to relevant Russian organizations, including power-plant operators. The Russian background paper emphasized that this high level of transparency and communication, and routine meetings among managers of individual INSP projects from both countries, were among the program’s strengths.